It was an interesting pre-season Saturday for Premier League sides, one that has already seen eleven clubs feature, while four more still have yet to play. There were mauling’s and there were disappointments, but surely no one reads too much into pre-season, right?
Arsenal ran rampant in a 5-1 opening day win in the Emirates Cup against Portuguese giants Benfica. Yaya Sanogo banged in four, with Joel Campbell contributing the other for the Gunners, who produced a very strong display despite missing many first team regulars. Gooners got their first glimpse of new signing Alexis Sanchez, who came on for the final fifteen minutes; he did not score, but he was lively, creative and looks set to hit the ground running. The Gunners take on Radamel Falcao and AS Monaco tomorrow.
Aston Villa’s successful tour of the United States has seemed to gone by the wayside once they returned to European shores; their recent 3-1 loss to Chesterfield was compounded further today at the hands of Dutch club FC Groningen, who thrashed them 4-1 at the Euroborg in a friendly that was promised after the transfer of Leandro Bacuna between the two clubs last season. Charles N’Zogbia would score the only goal for the Villains in a second-half appearance off the bench.
Burnley continued preparations for their return to the Premier League with a 1-0 win against former Championship foe Blackpool. While the scoreline did not reflect the dominant display put in by the Clarets, manager Sean Dyche remains optimistic as he prepares to take on the best the nation has to offer in just two weeks time; Marvin Sordell provided the only goal of the match.
It would however be a bit of a worrying result for Crystal Palace, who would go down in defeat to Brentford 3-2. Though in odd circumstances, the Palace first-team was split in two and featured in two separate friendlies, though the Brentford match was presided over by Tony Pulis.
Leicester City could only conjure up a 1-1 draw against Preston North End today, and though only pre-season, should be concerning. With plenty of financial backing and the allure of the Premier League now in their portfolio this season, they’ve been unable to strengthen the first-team as they’ve hoped. Liam Moore scored the only goal for the club on the day.
Newcastle United tasted defeat for the first time this pre-season, when they were thrashed 3-1 by Malaga in Gelsenkirchen in the Schalke Cup. Down 3-0 at the half, the Magpies did well enough to try to get back into the match through Gabriel Obertan, but the damage had been done. Remy Cabella made his pre-season debut for the club, who take on the hosts tomorrow.
Queens Park Rangers produced a noteworthy display in their own right, playing to a 4-0 win against Irish big-boy Shamrock Rovers. After doing well this summer to secure plenty of surprising transfers, including a deal today that see’s Chilean Mauricio Isla come to the club on loan with an 8million pound option to buy, Harry Redknapp’s return to the Premier League could well be an entertaining and surprising one for Rangers supporters.
You may disapprove of Swansea’s away kit this season, but perhaps it will offer a visual distraction for their opposition. All jokes aside, the Swans played to a 3-1 win against Reading this afternoon as they prepare for their first full season (or so they hope) with Gary Monk at the helm. With key attacking additions in Bafetimbi Gomis and the return of Gylfi Sigurdsson to supplement Wilfried Bony, Monk could well spring a few surprised this season. Wayne Routledge netted a brace, and Gomis rounded off the scoring on the day.
Tottenham produced what was perhaps the display of the day, when they thrashed Scottish champions Celtic 6-1. New boss Mauricio Pochettino has found it difficult to recruit new players this summer at White Hart Lane, but if a performance like this is any indication, he may not need many in the door at the club. Celtic did field a side heavily laden with youth, but that does not take away from the quality football that Spurs produced; goals in the first-half from Harry Kane, Roberto Soldado, and Lewis Holtby were added on to in the second-half by Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Emmanuel Adebayor.
West Brom and West Ham round off the matches that are already in the books; Brum fell 1-0 to Nottingham Forest in a lackluster showing, while Sam Allardyce’s men took Schalke to penalties and won 7-6 after a scoreless draw resulted after 90minutes.
Still to come on the day is the final round of group play at the Guiness International Cup in the United States; Liverpool take on AC Milan, Manchester City square off with Olympiakos, and Manchester United play in front of 105,000 fans at the University of Michigan against European champions Real Madrid, who will be without Ronaldo.
Tags: Arsenal Aston Villa Burnley Crystal Palace Leicester City Liverpool Manchester City Manchester United Newcastle United Pre-Season Premier League Queens Park Rangers Soccer Sunderland Swansea City Tottenham West Brom West Ham